*Steven J. Osterlind*

- Published in print:
- 2019
- Published Online:
- January 2019
- ISBN:
- 9780198831600
- eISBN:
- 9780191869532
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/oso/9780198831600.003.0003
- Subject:
- Mathematics, Logic / Computer Science / Mathematical Philosophy

This chapter introduces the idea of “observation.” Early astronomers only used their “best observation.” However, later on, astronomers started using the mean of all their observations instead. ...
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This chapter introduces the idea of “observation.” Early astronomers only used their “best observation.” However, later on, astronomers started using the mean of all their observations instead. Seeing shortcomings in this approach, the eighteenth-century astronomer Tobias Mayer developed a data-gathering protocol to generate what he termed a “combination of observations.” Unfortunately, as his contemporary, the mathematician Leonard Euler, did not view this method as being particularly advantageous, it was rejected at the time, although Euler did contribute to it indirectly through his codification of modern mathematical terminology. The chapter goes on to discuss Isaac Newton, who set the ideas for the scientific method and modern calculus, and Blaise Pascal, who supplied many of the missing pieces to Newton’s calculus. In addition, a brief, lay-person’s description (nontechnical) of calculus is provided, along with examples of where it is used.Less

This chapter introduces the idea of “observation.” Early astronomers only used their “best observation.” However, later on, astronomers started using the mean of all their observations instead. Seeing shortcomings in this approach, the eighteenth-century astronomer Tobias Mayer developed a data-gathering protocol to generate what he termed a “combination of observations.” Unfortunately, as his contemporary, the mathematician Leonard Euler, did not view this method as being particularly advantageous, it was rejected at the time, although Euler did contribute to it indirectly through his codification of modern mathematical terminology. The chapter goes on to discuss Isaac Newton, who set the ideas for the scientific method and modern calculus, and Blaise Pascal, who supplied many of the missing pieces to Newton’s calculus. In addition, a brief, lay-person’s description (nontechnical) of calculus is provided, along with examples of where it is used.